Cover Photo: Ben Queen/USA Today
Morgantown, West Virginia – When Fairmont, West Virginia native Jalen Bridges left the West Virginia Mountaineers basketball program following last season, he pointed fingers at virtually everyone and everything except himself for his mediocre performance with the team.
He blamed the coaching. He blamed playing out of position. He said that the developmental side of West Virginia basketball was not up to par. He wanted to play for a program that could develop him into a professional player, an NBA player.
Two months into the season, it appears that Jalen Bridges is exactly who we thought Jalen Bridges was.
He’s a very talented player that shows up big against teams and players with a lot less talent than he has. Against very good competition? He disappears. He’s too passive, too willing to let other players on his team take over rather than doing the taking over himself.
The numbers don’t lie. Through twelve games this season, Baylor is 10-2 overall. Bridges is averaging 8.5 points and 4.5 rebounds per game, which is almost exactly what he averaged with the Mountaineers last season (8.4 points, 4.8 rebounds).
However, Bridges has only scored in double-digits in four games this season. The teams he’s scored ten or more points against this season were Mississippi Valley State (13 points), Norfolk State (20 points), Northern Colorado (15 points) and Northwestern State (13 points). Those teams have a combined record of 23-30 and an average KenPom ranking of 256.5.
Against quality competition, Bridges has struggled badly. Against Virginia, he played 22 minutes and scored 2 points. Against UCLA, he played 16 minutes and had 0 points. Against Gonzaga, he had 9 points in 21 minutes. Against actual potential NCAA Tournament teams, he has averaged 3.6 points in almost 20 minutes per game.
Brandon Cork, co-host of The Voice of Morgantown Podcast, compiled a list of Bridges’ statistics for the season below:
Jalen Bridges is exactly who we thought he was. Numbers don’t lie. He pads stats against bad teams and disappears against quality opponents. Check out the stats via Brandon of @wvusportspod below: #WVU pic.twitter.com/KKH4PbzU7b
— The Voice of Morgantown (@voicemorgantown) December 29, 2022
While Bridges has aspirations of one day playing in the NBA, he has yet to prove that he is a go-to player in college. He has certainly shown glimpses of brilliance on the basketball court during his collegiate career, but glimpses of excellence isn’t what gets you in the NBA.
- Baylor visits the WVU Coliseum on Wednesday, January 11th at 7:00PM to play the Mountaineers. This will be Bridges’ first visit to Morgantown as an opposing player.